EFF councillors want the Stellenbosch municipality to cancel lease for alleged breach in favour of housing. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A dispute between La Concorde Holdings, formerly known as KWV, and Stellenbosch municipality over a 70-hectare farm leased to the company, has prompted the EFF to ask that the lease agreement be cancelled in favour of housing.

The dispute between the company and the municipality arose after an application to have a road constructed through the land.

In 1992 Stellenbosch municipality entered into a long-term lease agreement with KWV. A couple of years ago, a private developer approached the municipality to construct a road on the land, known as farm 369P or Grondves Farm. The council duly informed La Concorde of the request and then told them that a 1.66ha portion of the lease area would be utilised and would be excluded from the lease property.

This resulted in the company instituting legal action against the municipality.

EFF councillor Derrick Hendrickse raised the issue of the lease on October 23 when he and fellow EFF councillor Lisenda Horsband introduced a motion calling on the municipality to repossess the land for an alleged breach of contract and re-purposed in favour of housing.

KWV had changed its shareholding back in 2016 and Hendrickse was certain that this was in breach of the 50 year-lease agreed in 1992 between the council and the vintner/distiller.

“We brought a motion asking the council to cancel the lease agreement which prevents KWV from ‘ceding, transferring or sub-leasing the property’ on the grounds that the firm had breached its part of the agreement when its shareholding changed in 2016.

“This change, where KWV sold controlling shares to another entity without the council being informed, amounts to a sub-lease and what better chance to cancel the lease and use farm 369P (the land in question) to redress skewed land ownership in Stellenbosch to resettle black people?”

The two councillors were eventually prevailed upon to withdraw the motion. However, Hendrickse said on Monday that he thought the council wanted to avoid a legal battle which would have dragged out the issue and instead decide to settle the matter.

During the urgent council meeting it was agreed “that the municipality agrees to amend the lease agreement to allow La Concorde to sublet the leased property to KWV, alternatively a lessee of La Concorde’s choosing for a period of not more than five years”.

“The council also agreed that an addendum to the lease agreement be entered into on the basis that the land comprising the extension of Schuilplaats Road and the portion of land between Schuilplaats Road and the R44 be excluded from the lease agreement,” said the statement.

@MwangiGithahu

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Cape Argus